Daily News Egypt

Travel agencies address ECA seeking equality with foreign tour operators - Daily News Egypt

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Travel agencies address ECA seeking equality with foreign tour operators

Local travel agencies are subject to VAT, which increases burdens on them

Tourism industry sources revealed that several companies intend to submit a memorandum to the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) aiming to develop rules that protect competition between Egyptian and foreign tour companies.

According to the sources, a meeting between the Ministry of Tourism and the ECA last week concluded that competition rules between Egyptian tourism companies have been superseded by foreign companies.

Local agencies are subject to value added taxes (VAT) at 14%, while foreign operators are not.

The tourism industry sources told Daily News Egypt that the ECA expressed understanding in this regard, requesting the presentation of a memorandum about the issue so that it could study it and measure its compliance with laws.

The sources added that the hotel sector of the Ministry of Tourism refused to set a minimum price for hotel rooms, as it would be a violation of the principle of competitiveness, which is supported by Mona El-Garf, acting head of the authority.

Last week, Daily News Egypt published the response of chairperson of the Tourism Committee at the Egyptian Businessmen Association (EBA), Ahmed Balbaa, to Mona El-Garf, acting head of the ECA.

El-Garf had also told Daily News Egypt that setting a minimum price would be contrary to the principle of competition protected by the ECA, which will examine whether there is damage to some operators, or the state, due to unfair pricing policies, in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism.

Balbaa said that he sent a letter to El-Garf including all the points of damage to the tourism, industry, and agriculture sectors and tax revenues. The letter also included points of damage on employment and Egypt’s reputation abroad.

Hisham El-Shaer, member of the steering committee of the Hotel Chamber, said the committee will hold its first meeting on Monday to discuss all issues facing the hotel sector.

“We do not know anything about the meeting between the Ministry of Tourism and the Competition Protection Authority over the past week, and we will work to know its results and deal with them,” said El-Shaer.

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